Growing Business

No matter how well your business is running, there is always room for improvement. When your company is growing, you want to make the most out of each workday and get the best from each employee.


You can only fix what you know is broken. Begin the process of improving your efficiency by determining where your inefficiencies lie. Perhaps certain staff members take too long to complete their work. Maybe you have a supplier who always seems to deliver products a day or two later than promised. Sometimes convoluted work processes are to blame. In this step, it may be helpful to bring in an outside consultant who can see your workplace with fresh eyes. You may also benefit from speaking with others in your community or industry to share ideas. Owners who have been in business longer may be willing to offer advice.


If a business process has been around for more than two years, it has had time to become unwieldy. See if two or three steps can be combined into one, saving time, effort and confusion. Software as a service is one way to simplify your technology needs. SaaS can streamline processes and help you stay updated and nimble. With SaaS you do not need to invest in hardware that will need to be set up, maintained, replaced and discarded, because your server needs are taken care of by a technology specialist. One especially helpful change is serverless printing, which can provide secure access and advanced features at a lower price and with less hassle than traditional systems.


Always ask, “Is there a better way to do this?” Sometimes, the answer is no; in those instances, leave things as they are. Innovation for the sake of change makes no sense. However, you may find small ways to improve your products or services—and those incremental changes can make huge differences to your customers. Likewise, incremental improvements to business procedures can make huge differences to your employees’ efficiency and productivity. 


You probably automate some aspects of your personal life, such as using direct deposit and getting household consumables delivered monthly. Automation works just as well at work. Technology can help you systemize recurring financial actions like sending invoices, creating receipts or preparing payroll. Automate other routine activities such as reminding customers of appointments and soliciting feedback afterward. 


Put an end to pointless meetings. Each meeting should have an agenda and stick to it. Meetings should end on time with a plan for follow-up. For all tasks, use the appropriate form of communication. Emails are a good way to get the same piece of written information dispersed to many people at the same time. For collaboration, use project management software or a task management platform. Never discount the usefulness of a quick phone call when you need clarification or direction. For in-depth analysis and discussion, face-to-face gatherings (even when done virtually) are hard to beat.


Employees who take time off work do better work. When they return from vacation, workers feel more motivated and less stressed; therefore they produce better work, and more of it. Yet, if the company culture does not truly promote time off, many employees say the positive effects last less than a week. To create a work environment that maximizes employee time off, give workers adequate resources to cover their tasks during their absence. Leadership should set a good example by using their own vacation time.


You cannot know every little thing that is going on, especially with a growing company. Constantly solicit honest feedback from your customers, front-line employees, managers and investors. When you change a process, evaluate the results. Did the change truly improve the situation? If so, can other processes benefit from a similar makeover? If not, should you go back to the old way of doing things, or explore a third possibility? Evaluate your employees regularly as well. Those who consistently meet goals in a timely fashion should be rewarded; those who do not may need to be retrained or let go.